Writers’ support center slated to open in September

Gregory and Ruth Zschomler continue refurbishing the former home of the Bible Missionary Church, 510 W. First St., to serve as a support center for writers and authors of all skill levels called Harbor House.

The former sanctuary of the 1917 American Foursquare style home will be the site of future classes, workshops and, of course, writing. A smaller adjacent area will be set aside for meetings and conversations.

Other offerings the Zschomlers plan to include are services, resources, guidance and encouragement. Both of them are professional writers.

The center will provide an atmosphere that’s comfortable but not as distracting as places where most writers tend to work: at home, in an office, or in a coffee shop.

“Writers tend to be work-alone types but it’s helpful for writers to meet,” Gregory said. “I’ve done a lot of writing in coffee shops. You develop friendships, but those people come up to you and say ‘hi!’ and interrupt you.”

The couple are parents to eight children so working at home was even more of a problem because of the noise. Only three of their children still live at home — where Ruth feels most comfortable doing her writing.

“I wanted to be available to my family,” said Ruth, who wrote freelance and usually was a stay-at-home mother while also furthering her education. She also obtained a master’s in fine arts degree from Goddard University.

Working at a coffee shop, she said, can also “be spendy.”

The Zschomlers want to provide a homey place for people in Grays Harbor to write where they can obtain feedback and advice as well as complete business tasks that come with professional writing.

Drop-in writing time is expected to cost $5 a day. There will be wifi, complimentary beverages and some basic office equipment such as a fax, copier and printer.

Snacks, more extensive office needs and more lengthy consultations with the proprietors will cost more.

Ruth or Gregory will be available to provide their expertise.

They intend to set-up workshops and other events as well networking and interaction opportunities.

Other artists are welcome and the location will also serve as a gallery for local artists to display visual art. Both Ruth and Gregory have a variety of visual arts skills.

Teen Tuesdays—offering free after-school help with writing assignments and essays. Book clubs and private readings will help round out the center’s offerings and are expected to attract readers, too.

The Zschomlers stressed that the publishing industry has changed with the advent of online publishing. Writers learning where the industry has headed — and where it’s expected to go — is more important than ever.

“Book stores are closing but sales are up,” Gregory said. “Amazon cleared out bookstores but now they are opening stores. People will be able to print books on demand at kiosks.”

The couple is running an IndieGoGo crowdsourcing campaign to raise money for the remaining work and start-up costs.

The opening is planned for late September. For details about Harbor House, visit https://igg.me/at/harborhouse.